April is National Donate Life Month, and National Pediatric Transplant Week is April 22-26. The commemorations seek to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation, including living organ donations. The month-long Donate Life celebration honors those who have received transplants, recognizes those who continue to wait, honors donors and donor families, and serves as an opportunity to thank registered donors for giving hope.
Last October, Governor Wolf signed a new bill into law to provide more access to organ donation, including tissue donation, as well as provide public education about the donation process and the importance of organ donation.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, more than 48 percent of current driver’s license and ID card holders – an estimated 4.77 million residents – are registered organ donors. More than 7,500 Pennsylvanians currently await organ transplants.
Nationally, more than 14,000 patients are on a waiting list for a liver. Living-liver donations can help these patients. For donors, the remaining portion of their liver will regenerate and regain full function.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has one of the largest pediatric liver transplant centers in the country, with a surgical team that performs between 10 to 24 liver transplants each year. To date, the program has performed nearly 350 liver transplants for children suffering from a host of conditions, including biliary atresia.
Living donors should be in good overall physical and mental health and older than 18 years of age. Some medical conditions could prevent an individual from being a living donor. Transplant programs complete a full patient evaluation to protect both living donor and recipient health and safety.